There are some times for
everyone who writes for a living where the words donít seem to
flow from brain to fingers to the page.
Other times, one runs into a situation where there are
multiple topics, which are both solid ideas, and the
decision-making process is a difficult one.
For me, this is one of those latter situations.
So bear with me, cause weíre gonna talk about both.
The first is a recent
layoff at World Championship Wrestling.
Now, I understand that their payroll is vastly bloated
for the revenues theyíve been generated.
And in general, youíll never get an argument from me
that there are too many women in professional wrestling.
Most of them are solely eye candy, and while there
isnít anything wrong with that, it sort of becomes overkill
after awhile. Hey,
watching adult movies can be a good thing from time to time.
Watching nothing but porn makes it commonplace, and for
any red-blooded male, the last thing the female form should be
is commonplace. So,
back to WCW, theyíve recently dropped the contracts of Torrie
Wilson, Leia Meow,
Daffney, Paisley and Major
Gunns (did I miss anyone?).
Itís not like any of them were Missy
Hyatt or Tammy Sytch in their primes, and I doubt that the fans really miss
What I find interesting,
however, is that they all had one thing in common: they were all
at various levels on the undercard.
Leia Meow and Paisley came out with cruiserweights that
were usually in the first match or two on any given show.
Daffney was involved in several stories that, while
interesting, were purely mid-card.
Torrie & Gunns were higher up, coming out two steps
behind their respective titleholders (Shane
Douglas or Lance
Storm), but rarely used in anything directly involving their
left on WCWís valet front is Midajah,
main freak for world champion Scott
Steiner, and Miss
Jones, sidekick of The
Cat. I know
that Miss Hancock is still on the roster, but she hasnít been on TV for
months. The Wrestling Observer is reporting that Midajah
is out after the Revenge Pay-Per-View.
Am I the only one who
sees two problems with this?
First and foremost, I think Miss Jones has less talent
than any of the women let go.
Daffney could talk, although was relegated to screaming
most of the time. Paisley
and Torrie are stunning to look at.
And Leia and Gunns brought a certain, well, top-heaviness
to the proceedings that canít easily be replaced.
On top of all of that, I think that all of them were
better at getting involved when need be, whether it is
distracting the referee or grabbing the ankle of their
wrestlerís opponent. Which
brings me to the other problemÖin their place on the mid-card,
they were better positioned to help raise the visibility of
those angles, those titles. Itís easy to argue that the Jung
Dragons got a better reaction because of Leia in their
definitely a true statement for Major Gunns with Misfits
in Action, Paisley with Prince
Iaukea and Kwee Wee,
or Torrie Wilson with either Shane Douglas or Billy
tough to make the same point for how much Miss Jones helps
So, if the WCW office
was looking to keep any valets, why Miss Jones?
Any answers to that are purely speculative, and Iím not
the one for speculation that I used to be.
Now, on to my other
topic. What do the
numbers 78 and 25 represent? The first is the combined
number of points scored in four
XFL games this weekend.
The other is the percentage drop from Week 2 to Week 3 of
the XFL television ratings, a drop that puts the ratings below
the number promised to sponsors.
The first number means that a truly boring brand of
football is being put on the field.
This is different than mediocre football, which is what
should be expected from the XFL.
A 42-38 game can be tremendously exciting, at any level
from pee-wees up through the NFL.
A 9-3 game played by minor-league pros can drive a
hardcore football fan to watch Golden Girls reruns.
The second point is even more damaging to the XFLís
future, because that now means that NBC, UPN and TNN will be
giving away free ad time, or refunding money, to sponsors. Networks donít like that kind of thing.
If you missed ESPNís Sports
Reporters this Sunday, Mitch
Albom of the Detroit
Free Press made a comment which sums up the problem Iíve
had with the XFL since the beginning, more accurately and
concisely than Iíve managed to so far.
Albom said that what makes professional wrestling work is
the marketing of its performers within the context of a sport,
and the sportís ability to adapt as time goes on to keep the
performers appealing to the fans.
This point is 100% dead-on, remarkable from a man who
most likely has never sat through an hour of wrestling in his
life. When fans in
the early part of the 20th century bored with
contests, professional wrestling turned into predetermined
fans tired of hour-long matches, they were shortened.
When headlocks and suplexes werenít enough, matches
became more violent. When violence wasnít enough, T&A and four-letter words
were tossed into the mix.
Albomís contrast with
the XFL was that football is, well, football.
One can make some minor rules tweaks, which the XFL did
before play began, and did again before Week 3.
But the basic construct is already in place, and
adaptations like the ones that wrestling has been making for
over 100 years are not possible.
Itís not like the XFL started from scratch with their
people and invented something brand new.
All of the players were players in other high school,
college, and perhaps professional leagues.
All of the coaches were coaches at other levels.
Football is what they know.
If the XFL brass expected something different, their
short-sightenedness is inexcusable, and will quite probably lead
to their downfall.
Vince McMahonís foray
into boxing lasted just a few fights, his movie production
company a couple of films, his WBF one major show.
Should it really be that surprising that his latest
non-wrestling venture suffers the same fate after only one